A few weeks ago, we planned a babysitting swap with some friends of ours.
They agreed to take our Detective Munch for a night, all night, overnight!, so Mom and Buried and I could go out and pretend to be twenty-year-olds again. More importantly, we could wake up and pretend to be twenty-year-olds again. And then, a few weeks down the line, we would repay the favor. It seemed like a great idea.
This weekend, it was our turn. To take our friends’ two kids.
We didn’t think this through.
I’ve been to a lot of rock concerts. I’ve been in sports arenas for dramatic playoff games. I’ve even been in the delivery room pre-epidural. Saturday night’s sleepover party may have been the loudest experience of my life. It seems incredible that three tiny humans under five years old could make so much noise, and maybe I’m exaggerating; PTSD makes one’s memory unreliable.
If you stacked these kids on top of each other, they’d barely be taller than me. And yet, somehow, they were louder than that Rage Against the Machine show I saw at the Worcester Spectrum, and they were louder than the riot that ensued when the mosh pit got out of hand. And these are people who were having fun!
Detective Munch and our friend’s oldest son, Evel Kneivel (the kid isn’t even five and he’s already gotten more stitches than I have in my entire life) are pretty much best buds at this point. They’ve known each other almost from birth, and since we’ve been back in Brooklyn (a year ago today!), they’ve really hit it off, thanks to a shared interest in superheroes, Star Wars, and ignoring their parents.
While we were away in North Carolina, Evel had a kid brother, and over the past year, he’s become something of an honorary sibling to Detective Munch. My kid loves the little guy, and who can blame him? The Bobblehead is about the happiest, cutest kid alive, constantly toddling around, chasing the other kids, doing whatever they do and laughing the entire time.
The three of them together are basically the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. And the loudest thing you’ve ever heard. (If you were in Brooklyn Saturday night, I apologize for the tremors.)
We have neighbors below us who have a sixteen-month-old. We warned them about the apocalypse that was the forthcoming sleepover, and to help try to minimize the noise (for our neighbors and ourselves) we threw on a movie when it got dark, expecting the kids to sit still and watch. HAHA. Minimize the noise! HAHA. HAHAHAHA. Sit still! As if.
Eventually – after some skillful implementation of Dad Voice (it actually took three skillful implementations) – we did get them to finally quiet down and go to sleep. We didn’t hear from our patient neighbors until seven A.M. the next morning, when I got a text requesting that we stop the running. Yes. “The running.”
Inexplicably, after having gotten up before six A.M., my son and his friends decided to spend the pre-dawn hours sprinting up and down the hallway. I would have tried to stop such ridiculous behavior if a) I understood it and b) I wasn’t terrified. The amount of energy on display was so intense, I might have gotten radiation poisoning. You’d think kids would be tired after being up til close to eleven P.M. babbling at each other, or after continuously dragging bin after bin of toys from one room to another, or after jumping up and down on the couch and the floor and the bed, or after running around looking for hidden “treasure” (Magna-Tile pieces) Mom and Buried stowed away for them. But no.
But no. Despite our repeated attempts to wear them out, they were going strong from six P.M. Saturday night until deep into Sunday. Detective Munch didn’t finally hit a wall until 3:30 that afternoon, after a weekend of tee-ball, multiple trips to the playground, a few hours at a little water park, an epic sleepover (emphasis NOT on “sleep”), a stop at the beach, a game of mini-golf, and countless time spent pretending to be superheroes and pirates and Transformers. And his two friends were there right along with him, for every excruciatingly loud minute.
(So was Mom and Buried, the MVP of the weekend, shouldering the lion’s share of the kids’ attention and devising new ways for them to focus their energy and enthusiasm so they wouldn’t spin into orbit. I mostly sat around and glared at them when they got too close to me.)
Somehow, Mom and Buried and I escaped unscathed, albeit in desperate need of some silence and sleep and maybe a Pulp Fiction sized shot of adrenaline. And it was fun to host our first sleepover; I remember how much fun I had spending the night at a friend’s when I was a kid, and based on the happy noises that are still ringing in my ears, that doesn’t seem to have changed.
When he woke up this morning – after nearly twelve hours of sleep, which itself came after a rare, impromptu, two-hour nap)! – the first thing he said was, “I miss my friends.”
“We can’t have a sleepover every night, kiddo!”
Actually, we can. So long as it’s at his friends’ house!